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Discover Kyrgyzstan by motorbike: an unforgettable adventure!


Kyrgyzstan on a motorbike

Kyrgyz what? Kyrgyzstan! This small landlocked mountainous country in the middle of Central Asia is the ideal destination for bikers who want to experience an adventure off the beaten track! On the ancient Silk Road, Kyrgyzstan is full of wild landscapes and offers an authentic cultural experience. The most courageous can get there by road from Europe, others will prefer to rent a motorbike on site. In recent years, the motorcycle rental market has been growing with a more varied and affordable offering. Olivia & Victor aka OunTravela left in 2019 to discover the Kyrgyzstan on a motorbike. The objective: explore the country for 5 months in order to create a collection of the country's most beautiful trails in road-book format for independent travelers on motorbikes, 4x4s, vans or bikes! After the publication of their adventure guide EXPLORE KYRGYZISTAN, they look back on the highlights of their expedition in nomadic land.

First step, buy a motorcycle

We arrive in Kyrgyzstan at the end of spring, in May. While some mountain passes are still covered in snow, the capital is a real oven. Before we begin our exploration of the country, we only have a week to find our expedition vehicles: a motorcycle and a 4x4.

The motorcycle market is quite limited in Kyrgyzstan because locals very rarely travel on two wheels. They much prefer horses! After having dissected announcements on the equivalent of right corner local and inconclusive motorcycle tests, we were recommended an American who runs a motorcycle rental agency. The latter offers us a BMW GS600 from 2000 in good condition. We trust him with our eyes closed.

motorcycle road trip

Unfortunately, this old mount already presents electronic problems after a few days. We still decide to put it to the test during a short loop not far from the capital. In addition to the repeated electronic failures, there is a carburetor problem that we are unable to resolve. We are making the difficult decision to return it to its former owner to find another one…

Is the second one the right one?

Here we go for another week of intense research. We travel around the capital in all directions in search of the motorcycle that could accompany us during our expeditions. We finally come across the dream ad: a Yamaha 600XTe from 2002 available immediately! Victor knows this motorcycle very well because it is his father's. A fairly powerful, lightweight motorcycle that consumes little fuel and is extremely robust. It is designed for the slopes of Central Asia. Perfect for explore Kyrgyzstan by motorbike.

Victor rushes to see her and hides his smile as best he can under the helmet during the test. He does not want to show his joy to the owner before the negotiations. He tries to find faults in it to bring down the price but it has been very well maintained, and that's good! Finally we learn that the bike did part of the Paris Dakar in 2002, that the previous owner was English and that he left it in Bishkek after a big trip in 2007.

After a final check by a mechanic, head to the notary's office to complete the purchase. We leave the office with the keys to the mount, a big smile and the feeling that this motorcycle will offer us great moments of freedom! Indeed, we were not disappointed.

Explore the slopes of Kyrgyzstan

Second step, take on the Kyrgyz slopes

That's it, the expedition can finally begin at the wheel of our Toyota Landcruiser FZJ 80 and our Yamaha 600Xte. The beautiful asphalt roads of the capital give way to small dirt tracks without difficulty. We discover charming villages at the bottom of the valleys where we already taste the atmosphere of Kyrgyz rural life. The days are not the same, the villages gradually disappear, replaced by islands of white yurts in the middle of the high altitude meadows. Here, everyone travels on horseback and motorbikes are a real curiosity for nomads. Some trails are a real challenge: fording, steep climbs, mud. We are not disappointed, the adventure is there and we are welcomed with exceptional hospitality.

During the entire trip, we take a lot of photos, written and voice notes. All our itineraries are recorded and we rely on the advice of locals to find some gems. Sometimes we are disappointed because the trail leads nowhere, but more often than not a simple mountain pass or bend hides an even more extraordinary landscape. This journey is a constant contemplation.

motorcycle road trip in Kyrgyzstan

landscapes in the middle of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan: on a motorbike... or on horseback?

Kyrgyzstan and unforgettable nature

Third step, writing the road book EXPLORE KYRGYZISTAN

Before the trip comes to an end, nostalgia already invades us. We lived for several months in the open air, to the rhythm of the sun, lulled by discoveries and encounters. The idea of ​​returning to France for the winter depresses us. However, one thing motivates us: to create this book that we had dreamed of so much.

Designed like a road book, and illustrated with numerous maps and photographs, EXPLORE KYRGYZISTAN is both a tool and a guide for independent travelers wishing to explore the country off the beaten track. By van, 4×4, by bike or motorbike, we invite you to discover a selection of 24 trails following in the footsteps of the greatest explorers and silk and spice merchants. This book is:

  • 336 color pages and more than 300 photos
  • 75 maps, including high-resolution satellite maps
  • More than 500 points of interest (bivouac spots, viewpoints, natural or cultural sites, etc.) downloadable in GPX format
  • Hiking or horseback riding and other outdoor activities not to be missed
  • 40 pages on culture and environment
  • Practical information to prepare your trip (vehicle equipment, rental, visa, etc.)
  • A complete glossary to start a discussion in the yurt

The book is available on our website

The book Explore Kyrgyzstan

Our little tips before leaving

After this incredible exploration of the country in its every nook and cranny, here are some valuable tips if you too want to discover this magnificent country.

Go light

For greater comfort and freedom, we recommend that you pack light. If you travel between June and August, you will not need to be equipped for the cold. A good jacket and light sweaters will be enough. On the other hand, don't skimp on good quality gloves and a warm sleeping bag for the night.

Do a complete check-up before traveling

Make sure your motorcycle's tires are in good condition. Remember to check the oil level, the condition of the brake pads and the chain kit. As a general rule, never forget to check everything related to the transmission (tension, adjustment and lubrication must be perfect). Finally, also pay particular attention to the suspensions. If it is possible for you to adjust them, do so based on the expected additional charge.

Know basic repairs

It is rare to complete this journey in one go without encountering some mechanical problems. We recommend that you prepare your equipment and familiarize yourself with basic motorcycle mechanics before leaving: changing a headlight, adjusting the carburetor, applying the brakes, repairing a puncture, tightening the clutch, etc. There are garages in large and medium-sized towns but in the event of a breakdown on a track, you can only count on yourself or the kindness of the Kyrgyz people to help you.

unforeseen events on a motorcycle road trip

Provide good equipment

We were equipped with the dXR brand and couldn't have dreamed of anything better for this type of sporty road trip. Safety, lightness and elegance are the words that best describe the latest road trip collection from DXR . Consider overboots, useful for crossing the many rivers that will be on your path.

Fuel management

There are numerous service stations on major roads. If you want to leave with peace of mind, bring a 5 L container of gasoline.

Finally, use common sense. You are the only one who knows your limits in the climatic conditions you will encounter, with your equipment and your track driving experience. Follow our recommendations to create your itinerary and don't hesitate to ask advice from the Kyrgyz who know the terrain very well!

dXR gear for road trip

Victor and Olivia from Editions OunTravela.

We take advantage of this article to thank the entire Motoblouz and DXR team for their support in the OunTravela adventure guides publishing project. We are waiting for you on our social networks for new adventures in Central Asia or elsewhere!

Victor & Olivia,
OunTravela Editions.

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Mathilde Tay

Independent writer for 5 years, I have been a “dependent” biker for 4 years. Yes, I'm the one we sometimes call "sandbag", the one who takes videos while her husband enjoys riding his motorbike on the roads and under the California sun. A fan of trail road trips, I'm also a fan of old bikes. The ultimate dream? That my husband finally sees the potential seduction of the sidecar, or riding his hands on the handlebars of a Triumph Speed ​​Twin my dad's age (1946)

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